In the seas off the tropical island of Guam, five nations have again combined to test their maritime warfare skills during Exercise Pacific Vanguard 2022, with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) achieving successful missile firings.
The guided-missile destroyer HMAS Sydney and the Anzac-class frigate HMAS Perth joined ships and aircraft from the Royal Canadian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Republic of Korea Navy and the United States Navy for the biennial integrated air and missile defence exercise. During the exercise, Sydney successfully struck a land target with a Harpoon surface-to-surface missile. Meanwhile, Perth also successfully engaged an airborne target with an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile. The week-long exercise commenced with an opening ceremony on board the JMSDF Ship Izumo attended by commanding officers from all participating nations.
“Operating with JMSDF Ships Izumo, Takanami and Takashio, ROKN Ships Sejong the Great and Munmu the Great and HMCS Vancouver during Pacific Vanguard has been a fantastic opportunity for Sydney’s crew to test their ability to integrate with partner navies. We welcome every opportunity to demonstrate and test our ships’ advanced combat capabilities and build on our reputation as a trusted and professional partner. We are always keen to show our friends and allies that we can work with multiple partners, a variety of ships and aircraft and demonstrate our ability to respond together to challenging threats. It was especially satisfying for Sydney’s ship’s company to prove our ship’s Harpoon surface-to-surface missile capability against a land target, joining other ships in the fleet that have previously fired the missile,” Australian Task Group Commander and Commanding Officer Sydney, Commander Andrew Hough said.
HMAS Sydney (DDG 42), named after the city of Sydney, New South Wales, is the third and final ship of the Hobart class air warfare destroyers used by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). HMAS Sydney was laid down on 19 November 2015, and launched on 19 May 2018. The ship, based on the Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate designed by Navantia, was built at ASC’s shipyard in Osborne, South Australia from modules fabricated by ASC, BAE Systems Australia in Victoria, and Forgacs Group in New South Wales. The ship was delivered to Australian Department of Defence on 28 February 2020, after sea trials since September 2019. HMAS Sydney was commissioned at sea off the coast of New South Wales on 18 May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the first time since World War II that an Australian warship was commissioned at sea. In March 2021, the ship’s combat systems were tested in advance of any operational deployments.
The ships’ participation in Exercise Pacific Vanguard 2022 was part of a regional presence deployment, following hot on the heels of multilateral air and ballistic missile defence training in Exercise Pacific Dragon. Other RAN ships also recently participated in Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2022 – the world’s largest naval exercise – as part of a regional presence deployment. Five RAN ships across two task groups have been conducting regional presence deployments throughout the Indo-Pacific region over recent months. During their deployments the ships and their embarked ADF units have undertaken joint exercises and other engagements with Australia’s regional partners. Regional presence deployments demonstrate Australia’s commitment and engagement with the region. These deployments play a vital role in Australia’s long term security and prosperity by protecting Australia’s interests, preserving a rules based order, enhancing cooperation and relationships with regional partners and allies and developing capability and interoperability.